Springfield City Council discusses Galloway rezoning, mask mandate

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Masking is a hot topic at the Springfield city council meeting on Tuesday, Sept 8, even though it is not on the agenda.

An anti-masking mandate protest was happening outside the city hall during the meeting.

“It is basically a human right for people to make decisions for themselves,” said David Cort, president of Greene County Missouri Republican Assembly.

People gathered outside the chambers tonight, demanding to get rid of the mask mandate.

“The argument you can never make is he would have never been dead if he had his seatbelt on,” Cort said, “you know, you can never make that argument. You don’t know. So I cannot tell you that fewer people are sick because we shut down.”

Some protesters say they don’t believe masks work.

“I could get it tomorrow; any of us could get it,” said Don Shawley, a protester, “but I don’t think the masks are doing a thing.”

However, inside the council chambers, health director Clay Goddard addressed some past comments from those against masking, “a white paper that we transmitted to you in July, cited 19 studies that suggest that state-wide face-covering ordinances do decrease disease transmission.”

And reminded people that masks are to protect others, “my wife was diagnosed with the flu back in February, in Florida. When she came in with flu-like symptoms, the first thing they did was put a face mask on her. That is really the purpose of face masking, face covers, is to reduce that respiratory plume, therefore protecting people around you, and we would hope that people would make that sacrifice to protect others by wearing one themselves.”

And the first agenda item, rezoning over four-acres of property on South Lone Pine Avenue to Commercial and multi-family buildings.

“We’re tired,” said Marcie Kirkup, a board member at the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association, “this has pretty much become a second full-time job for many of us. All of our families are tired of us being gone. We’re ready for it to be over.”

If approved, developers could build apartment complexes and new businesses could also open up.

This makes Galloway residents worried about increased traffic.

“It’s a 12-foot road behind me, I don’t understand how 1,200 cars potentially could use that, that’s an average of they said three cars per minute,” Kirkup explained.

“It’s just a shame that somebody comes in and just destroy the essence of Galloway village neighborhood,” said Charles Ewing, another resident at the Galloway neighborhood.

Ewing wants nearby trees to be preserved, “the trees you see here? None of it will be preserved. They’re going to be destroying three acres of here, of all these trees, and the topography, and the animals that live there.”

Also at the city council meeting tonight, changes to republic road.

The public works department is trying to make the intersection with Campbell avenue safer and less congested.

“Widening republic road to five lanes, adding dual turn lanes on every side of the intersection except for one, there will be some widening on Campbell also,” said Andrew Flipping, project manager of public works. Campbell and republic road has historically been a very busy intersection, got James River Freeway, an interchange there, just a busy area, a lot of commercial properties, retail.”

The city will also add bike lanes, and construction may begin as early as next year.

KOLR10 is waiting on a response from the developer planning on building on Lone Pine Avenue.

The city council also listened to the first reading of adding a “Diversity Officer” in Springfield.

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